The former site of the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company is commonly referred to as one of the most radioactive places in New York City. Last week, the New York State Superfund Program officially classified the area (1125 to 1133 Irving Avenue and 1514 Cooper Avenue, Ridgewood) as a signifcant threat to public health and/or the environment.
The site, according to the state, is contaminated with thorium-232. The classifying document states:
Radiological surveys have identified radioactivity above background levels within portions of the site buildings, in soils beneath and around the buildings and above adjacent sidewalks, streets and sewers. Waste tailings consisting of black or gray ash-like material have been found in a contaminated soil layer beneath site buildings, sidewalks and asphalt surfaces of Irving Avenue and Moffat Street, and within surface soils of the former rail spur, located on the eastern edge of the site.
Due to the presence of the radioactive gas, the state has determined that further investigation is warranted to determine whether people could contact the contaminants associated with the site. It’s been placed on the EPA’s national priorities list.
Read about the site’s radioactive history over at The New Yorker.